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tv   Nightline  ABC  July 28, 2010 10:35pm-11:05pm PST

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tonight on "nightline," shock therapy. they're gory and graphic. but most of all, advocates say they're effective. so-called shock ads are taking hold on american airwaves. but we will get the message? life after death. sergio and maria guerra were mistakenly notified their daughter died in a car accident when in fact her friend had been killed. tonight, the parents tell their harrowing story. and, state of the view-nion. president obama today became the first sitting president to sit on the couch at "the view."
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and that is a "sign of the times." >> announcer: from the global >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, martin bashir and cynthia mcfadden in new york city, this is "nightline," july 28th, 2010. >> good evening, i'm terry moran. and we're going to begin tonight with a look at so-called shock ads. they're public service announcements that use realistic gore and graphic imagery to discourage viewers from risky behavior. the short television spots pioneered in the uk and australia are now cropping up in the united states, and some vumers say they're just too much. advocates say it's just what we need. here's vicki mabrey with the story. >> reporter: this is what disaster looks like, just seconds before it happens. in this car, four, happy, healthy tangers out to have fun, until the driver's attention is diverted by texting.
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what happens next is frightening, gory, and very realist realistic. >> i think the texting while driving ad is a new way to go, and will be very effective, because it's almost like watching in real time. >> reporter: to media watchers like barbara lippard, this public service announcement being aired by aaa of the carolinas, is one of the most effective of its kind. a gory, throat-grabbing piece of work known as a shock ad. >> i want mommy and daddy to wake up. >> i think teenagers are used to seeing shocking scenes and shocking accidents, and, you know, they want to laugh at it or tune it out. think the brilliance of this ad is that it doesn't stop there. >> reporter: shock ads are supposed to, as your grandmother might say, put the fear of god into you. there's this one, pushing you to
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cut back on soda that shows a mandariningi drinking fat. and a brutal one about domestic violence, featuring actress keira knightley. >> this is drugs. this is your brain on drugs. >> reporter: this was yesterday's shock ad. but today, you get this. >> every cigarette is doing you damage. >> with the media environment the way it is, you have to break through the clutter. you have to get people's attention. you have to then back that up with a very compelling message. >> reporter: the message from the new york state stop smoking campaign is delivered in graphic detail. there's artery, with a surgeon squeezing fatty deposits. and the look down the airways straight into the cancerous
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lungs. >> they're ads that are designed to unsettle people, but also to help smokers quit smoking, to motivate them to make a quit attempt. >> reporter: but jeffrey willard, who runs the campaign for the state, says the most effective ad may be this one, called separation. >> it focuses on a child who is separated from his mother and shows his emotional reaction to that. the ad uses several camera angles to really show a long-term emotional reaction for a child that in reality just too a few seconds. >> reporter: separation got a response, all right, because, as it turns out, this is a very real mother and her very real son. that child is a very, very good actor or he was really upset. >> that was a sincere reaction. it was a brief reaction. >> reporter: is that going too far? is that crossing the line? >> this was a very controlled environment. it captured a reaction for a
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very brief amount of time. this is an enormous public health issue we're trying to address. >> reporter: the ends justify the means? >> if that motivates thousands of people to quit, then it is effective and worth the investment, it was worth that approach. >> reporter: as with separation and texting, many of the best shock ads aren't made in america. they're often from australia or britain. >> a lot more open minded in australia and britain than we are so. they are at home with that shock advertising. >> reporter: but american audiences are becoming more desensitized to gore and gross body parts. from watching shows like "csi." >> commercials like where they show you the aorta and squirting out the fat, are just so gross that i could see two teenage boys saying, hey, did you see that aorta? it was so cool, the amount of fat that came out of that.
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i don't think that's the way to go. >> just shut up! >> reporter: still, sometimes they cut through. in 2005, the montana meth project began a gritty campaign aimed at cutting the state's raging meth problem. >> you can do anything you want to me for 50 bucks. >> reporter: bob molineau says they work, by playing on kid's vanity or their love of family. >> kids often don't really think about themselves. but if you tell them, you hurt your sister, your brother, your parents, they're like, i would never do that. i would never do that. and they start to really grab hold of what this could mean if they got addicted to meth. it's not just about them. it's about the people they love. >> reporter: about what about smokers that see the disgusting side effects? new york tests smokers and airs the ads they say would make them
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quit. >> over 70% said the ads made them stop and think about quitting. that's the first step, to make them think about it. the next step is to make them act. >> did it actually make them quit? >> yes. smokers who see ads that are high sensation, meaning they're emotionally evocative or graphic in nature are more likely to make a quit attempt. over 60% of people who see our ads, smokers who see our ads, make a quit attempt. >> reporter: but does a quit attempt equal a quit? not necessarily. and if the sponsors find out we're not getting the message, expect shock ads to go even further. >> eventually, what we call shocking today will become the norm so people will have to step out even further. i think that has happened and will continue happening. >> reporter: this is vicki mabrey for "nightline" in new york. mabrey for "nightline" in new york. >> changing behavior through shock. thanks to vicki mabrey for that report. coming up next, we're going
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to tell you the story about parents that were mistakenly notified that their daughter had died in a car accident when in fact her friend had died. they're going to talk about that, next. there aren't many of us who use a cellphone just to make phone calls. but when at&t or verizon offer you an unlimited plan for $69.99, that's all it's good for -- phone calls.
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it ended with a fatal crash, and a case of mistaken identity at the hospital. for the first time today, the parents of a young woman who for the first time today, the parents of a young woman who narrowly survived share their harrowing tale. andrea canning has our report. >> i want to say a lot of things about abby, but right now, i -- >> reporter: sergio and maria say the fact that their daughter is alive is nothing short of a miracle. >> my daughter is a fighter. and all i know is that if she's living this long, that means that she keeps fighting. >> reporter: it's a miracle, because just ten days ago, they received the shattering news every parent fears. they were told abby had been killed in a car accident. the star college soccer player was traveling home with friends from disney land on july 18th when a tire blew and their suv flipped several times. two passengers were killed, three were critically injured. authorities reported that abby, just 19 years old, had died at the scene. her best friend, marlena, was taken to the hospital and clinging to life. her family rushed to their daughter's side, her injuries so bad, he was unrecognizable. >> seeing the daughter -- supposedly my daughter was in was just horrifying. >> reporter: the gu ever abby's family plan and paid for her funeral. >> planning is hard. i don't -- i don't feel like anybody should be go through this. >> reporter: it was a lot to bare for both families, who struggle to move forward, as they coped with the outcome of such a horrific accident. but then, out of the blue came another life changing visit from police. shocking news that would prove now was for one family and cruel for another. the whole ordeal was a case of mistaken identity. abby had actually survived the crash. it was marlena who had died. abby is now in critical condition has has endured multiple brain surgeries. her lay that's family mourns. >> it's comforting to know she didn't suffer. it was a mistake. a mistake they shouldn't have made. evidently, that person that, you know, that shouldn't have gotten confused got confused. >> reporter: so, how could a tragic mistake have happened in the first place? >> at the time, we were acting on the best information. >> reporter: law enforcement and hospital officials claim they used information from the families to identify the patient, and pointed to the girl's severe injury as a factor for the mixup, as well. >> sometimes the severity of the situation can impact the patient's visual appearance so dramatically that it is -- they are almost hard to recognize. >> reporter: and the two did look similar. that's marlena on the left and abby on the right. but things just didn't add up. marlena was two inches taller than abby. she still had her wisdom teeth, abby didn't. all signs that could have been discovered in an autopsy, but one wasn't done until five days after the accident. the medical examiner's office blamed the delay on a heavy case load. >> i think as long as human beings are involved in te kwags, all you can hope for is that the best trained, best motivated, best qualified folks attend to your needs and that's what happened here. it's a mistake. >> reporter: it's a case of mistaken identity that's happened before, in a strikingly similar fashion. in 2006, wit nooe and laura were returning to their college campus in indiana when the car they were riding in was hit by a truck. authorities say said one died, the other survived. the family believed laura survived. in this case, things weren't adding up. >> she was saying her name was whitney. and other things that were personal that led the family to believe this wasn't their family. >> reporter: dental records confirmed the shocking truth. it was whitney. the confusion at the crash, and the amazing resemblance between the two girls had both families and the coroner convinced that whitney had died. even laura's boyfriend, who spoke at her memorial service, couldn't believe it was actually whitney in the hospital, and not laura. >> i saw her, her hands, her feet, her complexion. and i -- i couldn't believe that it wasn't her. >> reporter: the grant county coroner stated, i can't stress enough that we did everything we knew to do under those circumstances. this case led to new legislation in indiana and michigan, both passing a law requiring stricter guidelines when identifying the bodies of victims. in this case, arizona officials said there is no investigation under way, but do acknowledge there is a flaw in the system. >> clearly, there must be ways that we can look at this with fresh eyes and say, is there anything else from an additional standpoint that we can do to add that extra level of precaution? >> marlena's father just hopes good can come from this painful mistake. >> something has to be done. some good -- i mean, it's got to be -- something's got to be corrected. >> reporter: for now, the family is focused on abby's survival. >> the good thing is for her to be alive and back home again. and she's fighting, and i'm pretty sure she will make it. >> reporter: they say they've already lost her once. is alive is nothing short of a
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now was for one family and cruel
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didn't suffer. tragic mistake have happened in
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happened here.
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>> reporter: dental records
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they don't want to lose her again. i'm andrea canning for "nightline" in phoenix. i'm andrea canning for "nightline" in phoenix. >> well, god bless both those families, and thanks to andrea canning for that report. when we return, we'll turn the page. president obama becomes the first sitting president to pop up on a daytime television
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studio, with an appearance on "the view." not everyone's in love with this move, though.
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your father is suffering. [ male announc ] honey nut cheerios tastes great and can help lower cholesterol. >> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with terry moran. >> it was the first presidential foray into a daytime television studio. president obama today taped an appearance here in new york on "the view." critics are taking issue with "the view." critics are taking issue with that choice of venue, but the white house says it's a creative way to get the president's message out there. for yunji de nies, it's sure a "sign of the times." >> reporter: president obama got
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comfy with the cohosts, discussing in an interview an hairing on "the view" tomorrow morning, the roses and thorns, his highs and lows. >> in the last month, the rose has to be a couple of days we took in maine, with michelle and sasha and malia. they're not quite teenagers yet, so they still like you. well, where do i begin here? >> reporter: even before he reached this couch, the critics pounced, questioning on "morning joe" whether doing daytime is truly presidential. >> i wouldn't put him on jerry springer, either, right? i think the president of the united states has to go on serious shows. >> reporter: "the new york daily news" charged, two wars, oil crisis, crashed economy and he's whooping it up with whoopi. and rosie o'donnell agreed on her xm show that "the view"
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isn't the right venue. >> i don't really think sitting presidents should go do fluffy daytime tv shows. >> reporter: the president is certainly no "view" virgin. stopping by to dish about hot topics has become a campaign must. but are the rules different for a commander in chief? >> it is so hard to break through and there's so much noise. >> reporter: white house communications director dan phifer says getting a message across in the modern media age requires creativity. >> we're trying to basically solve a riddle, which is that people are more interested in government politics than they've ever been before. they are more informed on what's happening in the world yet they are watching traditional news sources less. they are getting information somewhere. how do you reach those people? >> reporter: he hasn't had a primetime press conference in more than a year. are you trying to bypass us? >> no one should take it as a sign that we're going around the traditional press.
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we're doing them in addition to the traditional press. >> hello, everybody. i want to talk to you about a new consumer website. >> reporter: this president has embraced the nontraditional like no other. he offered his thoughts to marv albert where lebron james should play basketball. >> the most important thing for lebron right now is to find a structure where he's got a coach that he respects. >> reporter: even taped pro mows for george lopez. >> could you offer me a position, like ambassador to mexico? >> no, george. you need to change late night. that's the kind of change i can believe in. >> i got kansas state down here. >> reporter: plenty of people accuse the president of being overexposed, but does it really hurt him? >> the white house does not care what we think. they care what the ladies of "the view" think and the ladies who watch the show think. they have come to washington with the firm belief that it is not their job to win over the political press and they don't care if they win over the political press. >> we are going to order a sub right now. >> reporter: the white house is
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well aware that the boss shines in more casual upon lick appearances versus the formal press conferences, where he gets dubbed professor obama. >> that takes care of about two-thirds of the cost. the remaining one-third is what the argument has been about of late. >> i'm sure the white house is hoping that that's what this show does, is remind people about what the cool, calm, collected, kind of hip guy that america fell in love with. i feel like i'm talking about a teen idol. >> reporter: and in your celebrity culture, he is still the guest to get. >> that's one thing that hasn't changed about obama. people, again, on the right and left may be frustrated with him, but he's still one of the nation's hottest celebrities. even though he may not be very popular politically. >> reporter: so, what hot topics should the president weight in on? >> i personally would love for the ladies of "the view" to ask him about mel gibson. i think that mel is a real candidate for the next beer summit. >> reporter: so, tell more, how do you prepare for this?
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do you do a presidential briefing on hop topics? >> we leave that to the first lady and his children. >> reporter: after all, being constantly surrounded by women is well within mr. obama's comfort zone. i'm yunji de nies for "nightline" at the white house. >> obama and "the view." check your local listings for the president's appearance tomorrow morning. thanks to yunji de nies for that. when we come back, a court undercuts arizona's immigration law. that's the subject of tonight's closing argumenargument. first, here's jimmy kimmel with what's coming up on "jimmy kimmel live." >> coming up next, lisa ling, music from rhymefest and i'm going to try to look into zach
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